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Motti Wilhelm

Everyone needs a ‘Jewishness coach’

Coaching is at the center of the growth cycle. (Pixabay)
Coaching is at the center of the growth cycle. (Pixabay)

The effectiveness of coaching speaks for itself. Statistics reveal that 80% of coachees report improved self-confidence, and 70% state that coaching has enhanced their performance. As a result, the coaching industry has expanded to an $11 billion market, encompassing executive coaching, life coaching, parenting coaching, and weight loss coaching.

Have you ever contemplated acquiring a “Jewishness Coach”? Someone with whom you can discuss your Jewish goals and who can hold you accountable for them.

Our Jewishness is one of the most significant aspects of our lives, one we would defend with our very beings. We are proud of the effects we have had on humanity and hold strong feelings about our children cherishing their heritage.

Given this level of importance, our Jewish engagement warrants an objective “annual review.”

Here’s the traditional approach:

Find yourself a Teacher: Identify an individual within your circle who approaches Judaism thoughtfully and earnestly, and with whom you feel at ease being vulnerable. Ask them if they are willing to be your “Jewish coach”.

Arrange a time to converse: Whether over coffee, Kugel, or on the phone, get together and share your Jewish goals and engagement. Judaism is divided into the “buckets” of Torah study, prayer, and good deeds. Talk about each bucket while setting intentional goals for where you want to be. A great way to start the meeting is to study the first two paragraphs of the Shema together.

Follow-up & Check in: Create a follow up plan to stay in touch and ensure you are meeting your goals.

Reach out to them when you have inquiries. For instance: if you’re relocating for a new job in another city, consult them on whether it aligns with your “Jewish goals.” Does the new place offer the desired level of Kosher food? Is the new job consistent with your commitment to observe Shabbat as a family? How will this move impact your children’s Jewish education?

The effectiveness of coaching is well-known, and the importance of having a teacher is fundamental in Jewish thought. We are twice advised in the first chapter of Ethics of our Fathers to “appoint for yourself a teacher (1:6 & 1:16)” Our Jewish heritage is a critical component of our lives. This Elul, as you prepare for the High Holidays, consider obtaining a “Jewish Coach” for yourself.

Click here to read more about the importance of having a spiritual mentor.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Reach me via email RabbiMotti@JPortland.com or WhatsApp 1-503-381-7119.

About the Author
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm received his diploma of Talmudic Studies from the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in 2003 and was ordained as a rabbi by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of Kovetz Ohelei Torah, a respected Journal of Talmudic essays. He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia. His video blog Rabbi Motti's Minute is highly popular as are his weekly emails. Rabbi Wilhelm and his wife Mimi lead Chabad SW Portland as Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.